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on 6 February 2012
Now let me be clear, I enjoy a lot of low budget movies. In fact, among my guilty pleasures I count Dungeons and Dragons 2 and Beastmaster 3, and I genuinely enjoyed The Midnight Chronicles for an interesting story and take on the fantasy genre. I can even watch In The Name Of The King every now and again and find things to enjoy about it. So understand that I'm not some moron trying to compare Tales of An Ancient Empire to Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven and complaining that it doesn't measure up, but believe me when I say that Bloodrayne out performs this movie.

This movie's only plus is Kevin Sorbo but unfortunately he is not a saving grace for it. That's not to say that HE isn't good. The great thing about Mr Sorbo is that he has charisma and you can tell he enjoys his work, which always leaves you with a bit of a smile. Unfortunately, the movie was a third to nearly halfway through before he showed up.

Watching this mess, I can't honestly blame the actors - even though many give less than sub-par performances - most seem to be actually trying to take their jobs and lines seriously. Saidly though, the lines let them down. The cinematography lets them down. The direction, editing and the same thirty-second sample of guitar music repeated so regularly that it ceases being the only cool thing in this movie before Sorbo even shows up... let them down. The entire film has that feeling of a bad piece of fanfiction written by someone under the age of twelve, or one of a hundred Star Wars prequels shot by fans wearing big coats for cloaks while they slow-fight with plastic lightsabers in the trees behind their house - you can feel the childlike silliness, as though it was put together by someone who really didn't know what they were doing.

Text pops up every 15-20 minutes to try to tell you that a movie written as a single narrative is actually several different interconnected tales. Unsure what I mean? Imagine your favourite movie, and imagine that every 15minutes the screen goes black and text appears saying for example: "Tale 7 - Ripley has another nightmare about aliens", "Tale 9 - The Marines wake up from stasis", "Tale 12 - the aliens are angry", "Tale 14 - Hudson won't stop whining". It even starts with this text, telling us there are going to be 27 of these tales - and words a sentence so badly that it leaves it meaning abosultely nothing at all - but worse still is when you get to the end and you realise that HOLY CRAP! all the bloody tales aren't even here! They didn't even finish the movie, and instead they've filmed some terrible looking shots of their characters standing around or play-fighting as pretend footage from the next part to try and "tease" us!

Look, there are movies I like, love, don't like and others I despise but within those there are movies that I can easily ignore bad editing or bad cinematography if the heart is there or the actors drawn you in or the story is interesting - Hell! Watching the Midnight Chronicles you can plainly see safety pins holding the actors hoods the way the director wanted them, and at times it's painfully clear that those aren't real walls around them, but wood painted to look like the sides of houses and not painted well - but the story is interesting and some of the actors give intriguing and noteworthy performances even despite their surroundings. It certainly doesn't have the perfect budget (though you can see they spent a fair whack in places, and quite a bit more in others) but it has the heart where it counts.

Unfortunately, everything that this movie has, works against it. And even Sorbo's notable charisma couldn't save it.

Oh, and the vampire fangs they use look SO bad. My Halloween fangs looked miles better than those - when I was twelve! I can't fathom how they could make the movie ones look THAT bad! The actors are actually having to open their mouths wide to try and talk AROUND them. Some movies are so bad they're good.... this is just bad.
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on 17 January 2016
This is not a movie whatsoever. This is just a bunch of badly acted, badly choreographed, badly directed and even worse edited scenes put together. Albert Pyun has finally reached an all-time low with this production.

I have heard that he was hindered from properly editing some of his previous works in the past, but this time there are no excuses for such an incredibly poor result... Not even budget limitations, which are quite obvious throughout the entire film, account for this ugly mess.

The first 11 minutes are just too painful to see. As in David Lynch's Dune a girl begins to unfold the background story, only that this time through some kind of artsy drawings with the odd appereance of real actors in front of a green screen. That's Michael Paré trotting out his lines like a dummy with a two-dollar wig on his head, a female vampire with way too fake fangs and what it is supposed to be an evil sorcerer with the likes of an amicable librarian of some sort with no make-up on him at all. (What a lazy bunch of people they are)... I almost gave up the moment Sasha Mitchell (Rodrigo) ludicrously steps onto the screen and joins Paré in a 'what's-up-bro' fashion while wielding a samurai sword with a big smile on his face. And that's just 3:29 min. into the movie...
Then the real action sequences begin though surprisingly enough the words 'Tales of an Ancient Empire' finally make their way into the screen... but at 15:45 min.!!

Fom that moment on it's all about awful and campy acting, wobbling sets, stock footage of the forbidden city in Tibet, more sequences in front of a green screen, horrible and lame CGI effects, atrocious editing of equally atrocious shots... an apalling story that seems to go back and forth and over again to the point there's no telling what is really going on: 20 years later, 2 months earlier, back to present, flashbacks here and there. Just lots of different sequences in different places interspersed with little sense..

Later we see Paré with yet another 2-dollar all too fake wig; snow-white this time... And the joke goes on 'till enough is enough and we are treated to listening to him belching and eben...farting!! Oh gosh...

One last thing. I can't either believe this movie takes 13 full minutes to roll on the end credits. Miserable way of adding some running time.

Poor guys...Kevin Sorbo, Matthew Willig, Ralf Moeller, Oliver Gruner... They all deserve better than this.

I truly enjoyed and own some other Pyun's movies like The Sword and the Sorcerer, Nemesis or Cyborg... So for the life of me I cannot understand what on Earth he had in mind this time.
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on 1 February 2012
At the very end of Albert Pyun's 1982 classic 'The Sword and the Sorcerer' there was a tantalising tag line... "Talon will return in Tales of an Ancient Empire" Well after nearly 30 years Albert kept his promise and the world he created for the first movie is once again brought back to life with a few surprises thrown in along the way...

This version of 'Tales' however tells of a band of new heroes... With Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda) leading the action.

An ancient curse in the form of deadly Vampire Queen Xia has been brought back by some unwary treasure hunters... She now intends to destroy the beautiful city of Abelar whose ruler helped imprison her in her unholy tomb...

She unleashes her army of the dead upon the city, and under instruction from the Queen, her sister, Princess Tanis (played by the beautiful Melissa Ordway) must raise a group of mercenaries to stop Xia opening a portal to the Demon Realm and destroy everything humanity holds dear!

Tanis meets with Aedan (Sorbo) her half brother and two other siblings (plus a niece!) all fathered by a sword wielding adventurer who helped put an end to Xia's original reign of terror... They now set about tracking him down, but are captured by day walking Vampires (one of whom is also a half sibling) and can only wait for rescue...

That rescue may come on the points of a familiar looking three bladed sword...

This movie is good solid Sword and Sorcery fun in the 'Conan' tradition... Theres plenty of action, gore, humour and nudity to keep the audience interested and the Vampires are superb creations!

The half sibling sisters look great and Sorbo plays a really likeable sleazebag! Theres also some black humour and a guest appearance from the director's dog!!!

However this version of 'Tales' is only the rough cut... a longer version with a new intro has been relesead by Lionsgate in the USA, so if this has left you wanting more (as it did me) then thats a DVD to get hold of! Don't be put off by this version though as its terrific! Albert Pyun on fine form with some good actors who look as though they are enjoying the fantasy mayhem!

For lovers of fantasy, horror, Sci-Fi, the bizzarre and Sword and Sorcery then this is a must see! You don't have to have seen 'The Sword and the Sorcerer' to enjoy this movie... but it wouldn't hurt...

A great ride, worth seeing and enjoyable...
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on 19 August 2015
I gave this 2 stars only because of Kevin Sorbo. This was one of the worst films I've ever seen. A weak script and presentation, although the actors did their best with what they had. Even the likes of Sorbo, Pare and Moeller, who are excellent actors couldn't save this movie. This is the first review I have made but felt that the film needed to be commented on. I've seen better sword and sorcery movies from the 50's and 60's even though they did not have the special effects we have today. Give this one a miss unless (like me) you're a Sorbo fan.
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on 10 August 2015
Awful is being generous, It was disjointed, badly acted, the local dramatic society could act with more conviction.I shudder everytime I think of the "staged" pauses supposedly to add drama (????) If I could only get back the 85 minute of my life I wasted on this film.
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on 20 June 2016
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on 17 December 2015
good deliverythanks
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on 5 November 2015
Good movie
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on 9 October 2015
good watch
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on 3 December 2015
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